Born on October 17th, 1972 in St. Joeseph, Missouri, Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born in a broken home. His father (Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr.) left him and his Mother (Deborah R. Nelson-Mathers or known to his fans as Debbie Mathers) when Marshall was just a couple of months old. Marshall had, what you would call a very traumatizing childhood.
Due to his mother moving from place to place frequently, he had to change a lot of schools which resulted in a lot of bullying, mostly just because he was the ‘new kid’. The events of him being bullied are briefly explained by him in songs like ‘Brain Damage’ (where he expresses how he felt being bullied by D’Angelo Bailey) and ‘Legacy’ (where he explains how he was bullied and how rap helped him rise above it).
Also, the bullying was not the only problem for young Marshall. His mother was dealing with some of her own issues and was fond of using a drug called Valium (a drug used to cure anxiety by generating calming effects). She used to feed these pills to Marshall. The events of which are briefly explained by him in songs like ‘My Mom’ (where he explains how his mother made him a valium addict by adding the drug in his food) and the heart-wrenching song ‘cleaning out my closet’ (where he expresses his anger for his mother).
In spite of all these issues (which are more than enough to demoralize a kid), Marshall found his strength in rap music. As explained by his mother and grandmother in the documentary film ‘behind the lyrics’, Marshall had his headphones on all day, listening to rap songs, he used to rock his head back and forth to the beat.
The only two things Marshall was fond of in his childhood were rap and the English language. He used to carry around a dictionary with him (still does) so that he can immediately improve his vocabulary if he came to know of a new word.
Very soon, Marshall started writing his own verses and soon after that, he started competing in local rap battles. He initially had to face a lot of criticism due to the color of his skin as hip-hop was known to be an African-American art form. However, people used to change their opinions after hearing him spit (a term used in hip-hop, meaning ‘speaking’). He even went on to be the runner up of the ‘Rap Olympics’, losing to the rapper Otherwize. That’s when people started to know the name ‘Eminem’.
Eminem released his debut studio album ‘Infinite’ on November 12, 1996. Unfortunately, the album was a flop. This broke Eminem’s heart and he even considered suicide. That’s when he had a life-changing idea that gave his career the spark he needed. That’s when he invented his alter ego, Slim Shady (the evil and mischievous side of Eminem).
He released the Slim Shady EP on December 16th, 1997. That’s when he hit the ears of Dr. Dre (Aftermath Records) and Jimmy Iovine (Interscope Records) and the rest is history.
Born on June 16th, 1971 in East Harlem, New York, Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in a city with very harsh conditions. His mother (Afeni Shakur) and father (Billy Garland) were active members of the black panther party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His mother was acquitted of more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks” in the New York Panther 21 trial just a month prior to his birth. His stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for 4 years.
In 1986, Tupac’s family moved from New York to Baltimore, Maryland. Tupac transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts after completing his second year at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. At the Baltimore School for the Arts, he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet. He performed in Shakespeare plays and in the role of the Mouse King in the ballet ‘The Nutcracker’.
There, Tupac also used to participate in rap battles and was highly appreciated for his superior rap skills. Tupac had a very friendly nature and was remembered as one of the most popular kids in high school due to his sense of humor, superior rapping skills, and ability to mix with all crowds. He was considered the best rapper in the school.
In 1988, his family moved from Baltimore to Marin City, California, where he attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.
Tupac began attending Leila Steinberg’s poetry classes in 1989 and she organized a concert for his group, ‘Strictly Dope’. Due to this concert, he got signed with Atron Gregory who set him up as a backup dancer with the hip-hop group Digital Underground.
Pac made many records after that, including the heart-wrenching song ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ (A song about an underaged girl named Brenda who gave birth to a baby). This was the song that got him a deal with Interscope Records.
Throughout his career, Pac made many great songs and worked with one of the most impactful record labels in hip-hop history, Death Row. Pac had many enemies and was shot five times by three men in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan in 1994. The shooting which Pac believed was ordered by The Notorious B.I.G. (another great rapper and a good friend of Pac). Due to this misunderstanding, Pac released a track in 1996 called ‘Hit Em Up’ (one of the best diss tracks ever recorded), a diss track directed at The Notorious B.I.G. This made their relationship even more bitter.
Tupac was on the peak of his career in 1996. Sadly, that year proved to be the end of his career. On the night of September 13th, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tupac Shakur, one of the greatest rappers in history, was in a car with his friend and manager, Suge Knight when a car pulled up next to the side where Tupac was sitting. A man in the back seat rolled down the window and rapidly fired gunshots at Tupac. He was hit four times, twice in the chest, once in the arm, once in the thigh. One of the bullets went into Shakur’s right lung.
The story of the man who is still considered a god of hip-hop by many people had come to an end. Tupac Shakur died prior to the shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 13th, 1996. The case of Tupac Shakur’s murder is still unsolved. R.I.P. Tupac Amaru Shakur.